Goal #1 Completed.
21st July last year I got the keys to the work-shed. Since then I've had the pleasure of meeting and working for great local businesses who really care about quality signage and how their business is portrayed.
Working for yourself is a definite change in mindset. The clock gets thrown out as 12 hour days become normal, thinking all night over designs and nagging the wife with all my crazy sign ideas. And the added challenge of trying to nab that niche market in the local sign industry.
I started Solid Signs as I saw the local scene was just a quick fix of signage. Imagination and the creative side of the sign industry is being forgotten, it become so stale with the digital print era taking over. Anybody can make a sign, that is the easy part. Not everybody can make that sign look good and fit its purpose. Designed to catch the target market for the business clientele. Every sign should look awesome or it's money down the drain, no signage should be seen as a quick throw up and see what happens.
This is something I've tried to portray through my business and approach to signage, to fully explore the ideas of what could be done before jumping in. If it takes a week to think over and achieve a better outcome. Do it ! Then everyone wins.
Getting to work with all the young start-ups of the area, giving their business a fair crack and to meet guys who appreciate and understand the importance of something as simple as a business vehicle or shopfront being of high importance, their best advertising asset. With plenty of competition in the area you have to do what you can to be individual, to stand out. And I'm so glad I get to work in this industry and work with those who appreciate it being done well.
To then see those businesses take off, employ new staff, expand and become regulars to Solid Signs. It's a sign I'm doing things right by the customers. (no pun intended)
Since being in business for myself, I've come to realize new things about signwriting.
Firstly, I don't have a hard businessmen attitude. Im a signwriter first, not a business man. Or as a customer recently put it "you don't just make signs, you create signs"
Secondly, that a Signwriter has more influence over a towns vibe then they realize. It's not nice to stop in a town where every second business has signs which are peeling, faded, crooked and designed in the 90's. Every business around it gets dragged down.
But to be in a place where everything is clean, straight, well design and has its own identity gives a good feeling to the area. A Signwriter may have more influence then the local town planner.
People out there are looking for new ideas, and to expect all clients have been on the internet and done their research, seen what can be done and that you should deliver and exceed those expectations.
The signage / advertising / marketing industry moves fast. What people want to see visually changes frequently and you do have to keep an eye on whats hip and happening, whats back in style and be on top of it!
Business's underestimate the importance of the Shopfront.
Bluntly, if the front looks like a dud, nobody's coming in. You can put all your effort into the interior, but you really want to stop cars and invite people in. An awesome and well designed shopfront should be seen as a more important part of the business.
A good shopfront gets people in, that is my job. Give them a good experience and product inside and your business is a winner. Don't be afraid to do something different, in the right place gimmicks work.
When a business is bad most people call their accountant to find a solution, where can they cut some financial corners. Your signwriter should be called before the accountant. A small investment in some advertising and a facelift may not seem the best way to save you money in the beginning, but it will boost your turnover and re-lift your business to what it once was.
If the guy down the road just stole all your customers. The accountant wont save you, but your good signwriter might!
So 12 months has past. This now entitles me to Throwback Thursdays. There will be a few expansions to the business coming soon. The display area is being re-done, hard to let that painstaking chalk-work be wiped. Things are due for a new look once a year I believe.
More excitingly, I will now begin working on the second business venture. An additional service Solid Signs will be providing!
I will elaborate on the changes in the coming months.
Thanks from Locky, to all the businesses who have used Solid Signs in the past year. Looking forward to creating and working on new things in the future!